One of children favorite toy, especially boys, is train toy. When they play it, they usually move the train on the track, make the train sound, and pretend to be the engineers. They can play it alone or together with others like their peers or us. If we play with them, we actually can add something more which will make the pretend play more fun and make children learn. How to do it? It’s by introducing the concept of transportation.
To do that, firstly, we stimulate our children sense of curiosity by asking question like,”Do you know that train is one kind of transportation?” Some may say yes, some may say no. If children say yes, we can ask them whether they know what’s the meaning of transportation. They may answer the question based on their understanding. Never mind if their answer is not correct as young children, though they may have heard the word, may not know yet about the meaning of transportation. It’s our task to explain the meaning of transportation to them. Explain it in words they will understand. Let’s say that transportation is a way to move people or things from one place to another.
After that, we can ask children to do a simulation as explaining the meaning of transportation only won’t make children grasp the concept. The simulation can be done by playing the train toy. Start with preparing the buildings and setting each buildings faraway from one another.
Then, do the pretend play. For example, pretend a person needs to go to another place which distance is quiet far. We can ask children about how can the person go there. They may give various answers such as by foot, by car, by train, etc. After that, we can ask them to help the person by providing one way of transportation which is train. Then ask children to arrange the tracks. So the train can move and is able to transport the person to another place..
When the tracks has been arranged, pretend to make the person rides on the train and he feels happy as he’s able to go the place he wants by train now. Keep doing the pretend play by creating another scenario such as visiting grandparents’ house, travelling to another city, etc.
Don’t stop with one type of scenario. Create another situations. For example, there are people who need to send packages to their friends at another city. Put some things (use print out pictures or sticker) on top of the trains. Then move the trains to another place. Pretend that the friends are happy when they receive the packages. Ask children to bring out their own ideas of situation/scenario which I’m sure they will come up with many ideas.
To do the activity above, we need to prepare the train set and the train toys. The Conductor Carl 100 Piece Bulk Train Track Pack can be an option for the train tracks. The set is made of wood which makes it durable and long lasting as wooden toys are not broken easily. So children can have it for many years and even it can be passed on to their younger brothers and sisters. It’s also safe as the track pieces are made from single piece construction, meaning there are no loose plastic pegs that could pose danger to a child.
As for the train set, Conductor Carl 100 Piece Wooden Train Set & Conductor Carl 80 Piece Wooden Train Set with Table can be the options. Both sets include Conductor Carl Engine Car, pieces of track, vehicles, people & signs, trees & houses. Therefore, we don’t need to provide another set train toys to be able to do the simulation.
That’s how the concept of transportation can be introduced to young children. It starts by explaining the meaning of transportation and giving train as one example of transportation. This will make children grasp the basic function of the train and realize the reason why the train moves from one place to another. It’s simple concept but children may not realize it before. Then continue the activity by doing the simulation through pretend play which is the fun and important part. It is the part which will make children truly absorb and grasp the concept because they experience the process of the transportation itself which begins by arranging the tracks, trying to solve people’s problem in the pretend play, solving the problems and eventually creating many situations of using the train as one kind of transportation. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s ask our children to play the train toys to understand the concept of transportation 🙂